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At a glance

Despite its ratification of the Convention against Torture in 1988, the United Kingdom (UK) has still many improvements to make in order to comply with international human rights standards. The United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) noticed in 2019 that the country does not fulfill its duty to investigate and prosecute all cases of allegations of torture and ill-treatment and that some State officials who have allegedly committed such crimes have not been removed from public service. No prosecutions for war crimes or torture have taken place following allegations of unlawful killings, torture and ill-treatment committed by the United Kingdom armed forces in Iraq between 2003 and 2009, despite related investigations. The UK has also failed to establish an independent judge-led inquiry into allegations of torture overseas, including by means of complicity, as a result of military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There are concerns about the procedures to identify and address statelessness in the UK, with reports showing that individuals claiming statelessness status continue to be subjected to lengthy periods of arbitrary administrative detention. Another challenge is the accountability for conflict-related violations in Northern Ireland and recent statements by high-level officials affirming that they are contemplating measures to shield former public officials from liability. Paramilitary groups continue to function as alternative authorities in certain areas of Northern Ireland, inflicting punishments resulting in severe pain and suffering against people alleged to have committed criminal offences, including children.

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